Key Legislature: Wizards 107 vs Pistons 103 — Wall Opens Seams in Pistons Product | Wizards Blog Truth About

Key Legislature: Wizards 107 vs Pistons 103 — Wall Opens Seams in Pistons Product

Updated: November 13, 2014

[via @WashWizards]

[via @WashWizards]

Truth About’s Key Legislature: a quick run-down and the game’s defining moment for the Washington Wizards’ sixth win of the season, a 107-103 firefight against the Detroit Pistons, from John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend).

DC Council Key Legislature

by John Converse Townsend.

Talk about Rasual Butler. John Wall, ’round these parts known as the Wizards’ peerless leader, called him the “M.V.P.” after the game. And why not? He was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field through three quarters, before exploding for 11 points on just five shots in the fourth.

“I just had the opportunity to get some good looks tonight and they went down for me,” Butler said. “I got my shots in the flow a lot tonight. It was just some sets we were running, and I think my teammates did a good job looking for me to see if i was open on some of the actions that we run.”

Coach Wittman praised his 15th man, too.

“He can spread the floor and make shots and that is what he did tonight. He was outstanding. There was no hesitancy in his play. He put the ball on the floor a couple times and made a couple mid-range shots. He did a little bit of everything.”

Talk about the Wizards winning the battle on the boards against a top 5 rebounding squad. The Pistons came into the game ranked third, bringing down 46.3 rebounds per game, but were outworked 46-39 for the game—and 15-9 in a fourth quarter with seven lead changes. That effort, physicality and focus is just what the Wiz needed and surely something they not only talked about, but also practiced over the past few days.

But if you’re going to talk about the Washington Wizards’ 6-2 start, and you should, you’d better talk about John Wall. And you’d better get your facts straight. He’s the biggest reason why the franchise is enjoying its best start to a season since 1975-76, back when Phil Chenier was leading the team (the Bullets) in points per game. He’s what makes this band of brothers go. He’s the one guy you can’t trade.

“When we started getting down, I started to say, ‘Attack,’ ” he told the press, post-game. “I try to get my teammates going early, get those guys in rhythm. I can get to the basket at will, and things will open up for me when those guys are making shots.”

Critics and doubters will surely peruse the box score, see that Detroit’s point guard, Brandon Jennings, scored a season-high 32 points, and harangue Wall’s leadership qualities, or worse. But they’d be missing the big picture and disregarding the fact that basketball isn’t played one-on-one (and that Wall was guarding Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to start the game).

Listen to The Truth, who explained the sort of adjustments the Wizards made in defending Detroit’s pick-and-roll after halftime:

“We said we have to get up in the pick-and-rolls. Our bigs were too far in the paint when the other big set the pick, so we said we want to get up and make Jennings drive. John was doing a good job staying on his body, but when he came off a pick, the jumper was there because our bigs was lagging.

“We got up in the second half, made him drive a little bit. He’s a lot lower percentage when he’s driving to the hole, especially to the right—and that’s what we tried to do: send him to the right.”

Wall had a solid first half: 15 points on 13 shots, six assists (one turnover), one block, and one steal. But he came out of the locker room burning. He wasn’t just hounding Jennings at the point, he was an absolute terror from end to end. Wall stole two passes in the first four minutes of the third quarter, set up Paul Pierce (from 3) and Marcin Gortat (from 5 feet), but both missed the open looks. No matter.

“I just told them to stick with it,” Wall told me. “It’s a long game—48 minutes is a long game. I’ve seen teams go down by 25, come back, and win in the second half. So, just got to stick with it, get a couple stops in a row, get out and push the ball. Me and Paul was talking throughout the whole game, ‘Try to get rebounds, get stops and get into the open court.’ ”

Wall finished the game with 27 points, 11 assists, three rebounds, three steals, one block, and just one turnover. Pierce put up 13 points on 11 shots and added eight rebounds. Gortat posted his third double-double of the year with 14 points and 13 rebounds. His last basket probably won the Wizards the game. It came very late in the action, and it was set up by John Wall, of course.

Wall had just hit a 10-foot runner to give the Wizards a 101-100 lead with 70 seconds to play. Greg Monroe was kind enough to turn the ball over on the Pistons’ next possession, which gave gave the Wizards the rock and the lead with less than a minute to play. The ball was spotted by the scorer’s table, with Pierce looking to pop out for 3 from behind some major screen action on the weak side. Pierce wasn’t open, so Wall checked back to the ball, pivoted, and waited for Nene to set a pick at the top of the arc. Wall used it to perfection, controlled his speed, and hit Nene in stride with a textbook pocket pass. The Pistons defense, specifically Josh Smith and Kyle Singler, rushed to recover and seal off the open lane to the rim. They succeeded, but that’s exactly what John Wall and Nene wanted.

The big Brazilian slipped an underhand pass to Gortat, cutting baseline, who finished uncontested. Wizards 103, Pistons 100.


“Just being patient, especially with me trying to go for the home run play,” the Game Changer said, when asked about his maturation as a playmaker. “If i see a seam that’s open, I try to hit that. Just running the play and trusting that someone can get a good shot out of it. If not, we give ourselves a second chance. ”

Giving his team a second chance is exactly what he did. And while there were still 38 seconds to play, free throws would decide it.

Let’s watch the play again, from a different angle.


Outside the losing locker room, Detroit’s head coach, Stan Van Gundy, did his best to motivate his team for the next one, as well as minimize Wall’s impact on the game.

“I thought we were a little undisciplined. I mean he was just full speed out of control, throwing up stuff that really did not have much chance of going in. We kept fouling him. We were a little undisciplined there, but we had trouble getting back, which we should not. He is fast as hell, but that is why you have to get everybody back. It is exactly what put them back in the game was getting on the free throw line.”

But Brandon Jennings had a different take. He called Wall one of the top point guards in the NBA. Game recognize game, they say.

I want to go back to the key play, that tiki-taka magic, that intricate inside passing that when executed properly is unstoppable. It didn’t just put the game out of reach for the Pistons, it defines this incarnation of the Wizards.* We’ve seen this type of unselfish, heady ball movement between the team’s three most valuable players ($38.2 million combined cap hit) before and will surely see many more times before the curtains close on this era.


*No, I haven’t forgotten about Bradley Beal. He’s good and will be great, but what Wall and Nene are able to do right now as shot creators is much bigger than any “House of Guards” you can build.


The Bullets.

  • Brandon Jennings was held to just two (2) points in the fourth quarter.
  • The Wizards’ second unit, which was once stinkier than Valdeón cheese, outscored Detroit’s bench 39-25.
  • “You get it for me.” That was Rasual Butler’s response to John Wall, who, wrapped in a victory towel, asked, “When that new contract comin’ in?” (Knowing Wall, he probably will.)
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John Converse Townsend
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
John has been part of the editorial team at TAI since 2010. He likes: pocket passes, chase-down blocks, 3-pointers. He dislikes: typos, turnovers, midrange jump shots.